[KB] Regarding John McKenzie's question about resistance to Burke

wessr@onid.orst.edu wessr at onid.orst.edu
Thu Dec 6 12:12:16 EST 2007

Classic statements of the resistance to Burke from the standpoint of  
literary studies appear in Rene Wellek, Concepts of Criticism, Yale  
UP, 1963. Examples:

"Burke's charts, hierarchies, pentads, bureaucracies have nothing to  
do with literature. . . . Burke has ceased to be a critic and has set  
up as an oracle of an abstruse philosophy" (325).

"The early Burke was a good literary critic, but his work in recent  
decades must rather be described as aiming at a philosophy of meaning,  
human behavior, and action whose center is not in literature at all.  
All distinctions between life and literature, language and action  
disappear in Burke's theory" (353).

Bob W

Quoting Heather Branstetter <findheatherlee at yahoo.com>:

> Hi John,
> I suggest that you check out Barbara Biesecker's book, Addressing   
> Postmodernity.  While I don't know that I would go so far as to say   
> that this exploration of Burke's work represents a "resistance" to   
> Burke, she does seem to be looking at him through a critical lens to  
>  see what arises out of potential weaknesses in the Burkean corpus,   
> and in the beginning of the book you get the feeling that she was   
> trying to "cover all the bases" by anticipating critique from   
> advocates of Burke's work who might view her kind of experimentation  
>  as an unwelcome attack.
> - hb
> -----------------------------------------------
> Heather Branstetter
> PhD Candidate, Rhetoric/Composition and Theory
> Dept of English and Comparative Literature
> University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
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